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Between Survival and Revolution: Another Community Development System is Possible

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The tensions between capitalism and community have created a situation where, from the depths of multinational corporate headquarters to the diverse urban streets of America, the latter is now being co-opted by the former. Couple this with the current neoliberal order being imposed on the world by multilateral institutions, high-ranking government officials, and the corporate elite, and you have an economic imperial agenda being carried out in all corners of the globe. In this article, I take a dialectical and investigative approach in critiquing the neoliberal ideology that dictates how the work of community development corporations is funded and controlled. Much of today's reality within community development consists of an environment where funding restrictions undermine community power, community development trumps community organizing, professionalization creates a disconnect between community development staff and community members, and competition for funding forces organizations to spend more time on funders' needs than the needs of the communities they serve. J P Morgan Chase is profiled to illustrate how economic neoliberal globalization and so-called community capitalism shape the modern community development movement. I conclude with an analysis of how empowerment, organizational democracy, and collective ownership have the potential to open up spaces of hope for urban communities in the United States who have been forced to live under the hegemony of economic neoliberal globalization.

Keywords: community; community development; corporations; empowerment; grassroots; neoliberalism; nonprofit

Document Type: Research Article


Affiliations: New York, USA;, Email:

Publication date: November 1, 2007


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